Disability Determination 97% Accuracy Rate?

I was surfing the web today and exploring the web site of the Tennessee Disability Determination Section (DDS). This agency has a contract with the Federal Social Security Administration, through which it performs the task of deciding who is Disabled and who is not. Among the general information given is a sampling of statistics about the agency and its budget, workload, etc. Unbelievably, the website boasts an Accuracy Rate of 97%.

Simply put…This is a fraud!

The fact is that when the DDS makes a determination that a person is not disabled, and that person appeals that decision for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)(using nationwide statistics), about 60% of the time the ALJ later finds that the person is disabled after all. This is a fact which is well known to the administrators of DDS. I am not a mathematician, but the accuracy rate for this agency is probably about 50%.

I know, I know…Accuracy Rate, as this term is used by DDS, does not mean “the rate at which decisions turn out to be sustained”. Rather, it refers to